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Your Guide to Cooking With Apples in the Hudson Valley


From cider to salads, know which apples are best for baking, saucing, and just enjoying fresh in the Hudson Valley this season.

Apple season is rapidly coming to a close in the Hudson Valley, which means your kitchen is probably already stocked with all varieties of the fall fruit. While some are best when just enjoyed fresh, other apples go well in dishes ranging from sauces to soups and everything in between. Grab a bushel of Golden Russets or McIntoshes and get to whipping up something sweet, savory, or sour before the trees are bare.


Empire apples are New York State’s pride and joy, developed by Cornell’s Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. A cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious, this variety possesses a sweet, vinous flavor and crunchy texture that make it great for fresh eating. For cooking, cut it up and bake it in the oven with cinnamon and nutmeg for a baked apple dessert, or make muffins for an easy breakfast.


The United States’ most popular variety of apple, there’s a reason why Galas are so sought-after. Sweet, flavorful, aromatic, and attractive, these red gems retain their crispness for months in storage – although there’s nothing like one picked fresh from the tree. When not eaten raw, Gala apples are amazing for sauces, pressing into cider, or cooking into soups like this butternut squash and apple dish.

Golden Russet


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Renowned for their fine hard cider-making ability, Golden Russet apples possess delicate tannins and high sugar contents with firm flesh and a dry, bright, pineapple-adjacent taste. Don’t let the rough skin fool you; this variety of late-season Russet is one of the most delicious for fresh eating thanks to its sharp flavor.

Granny Smith

Known for their tart flavor, Granny Smiths are infinitely better when freshly picked from the local orchard. In the Northeast, this typically green apple gets a new blush hue thanks to our cooler weather and maintains a sour and juicy profile. Because of their resistance to collapsing and disintegrating, Granny Smiths are preferred in bakes like tarts and pies, especially the famous tarte tatin, or this apple macaroon, and they make a smooth applesauce that tastes best with a pinch of cinnamon.


It’s all in the name: Honeycrisps are known for their crunchy bite and impossibly light feel. A sweet-tart flavor and incomparable juiciness make this apple ideal for eating fresh, and they also keep exceptionally well in storage. It would be against greater judgement to not indulge in this near-perfect apple raw, but if you’ve got an abundance of the variety, try baking it into pies and apple crumbles and mixing it up with kale in salads.


Considered an all-purpose apple, McIntosh apples have a highly aromatic and vinous flavor that is prized by many for baking and fresh eating in-season. This dessert apple breaks down quickly and requires a shorter cooking time than most other varieties. A sweet, juicy, and tart treat with a bit of spice, McIntosh apples are perfect for sauces and ciders.

Pink Lady

A refreshing combination sweet-tart apple, Pink Ladies have a high sugar and acid content that contributes to a crisp bite and effervescent finish. This late-season treasure stores exceptionally well and is versatile when it comes to cooking, going well in baked goods like crumbles and pies and retaining its rich flavor even when sauteed like in this pumpkin-apple-pear chutney.

Red Delicious


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This crunchy variety has an interesting backstory about its flavor that gave it its name. What was once a sweet and somewhat pink apple was selectively bred using only the reddest of the lot to create the slightly blander version we consume today. Nonetheless, Red Delicious apples are still best when eaten fresh or chopped up and added to salads for a juicy crunch.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!